Video Advertising Trends for 2020

At the dawn of 2020, there’s a whole lot to love about video advertising. Video as a marketing tool has been on the rise for the entire past decade. By 2018, 85% of US internet users were watching video on all their devices. By 2019, 87% of marketers were using video in their toolbox. And video is proving its bottom-line value, with video marketers generating 66% more qualified leads per year.

Video is so entrenched in our daily lives, it is fascinating to take note of the new technologies, tools, and trends that are cropping up and creeping in. As we head into a new decade, what are the video advertising trends we can expect to see? Take a dive in and explore the top 3 video advertising trends for 2020:

Video storytelling

Today, we spend a large part of our lives in front of screens. How much? Well, adults in the US spend an average of 12 hours a day on their TVs and computers. This is most certainly a result of the rise of Connected TV (CTV), like Smart TVs and Apple TV, as well as OTT (Over-the-Top) streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Not to mention time spent on the other screen: the smartphone.

For marketers, this creates a problem. Which screen to dominate in terms of advertising – TV or mobile? With the rise of 4G and 5G networks, mobile is quickly becoming our ‘Pocket-TV’ – it’s with us everywhere we go. Yet, simple display ads have less impact on mobile than desktop, due to the smaller screen size that makes ad placement more awkward and disruptive.

This is one of the reasons why marketers are driven to video-based storytelling strategies to engage customers and build their brand, especially on mobile. You only have to look at the trend of “stories” on social media networks to understand the lay of the land. After all, videos are shared a whopping 1200% more than text-content and links. Video storytelling, on the big screen and small, is gaining even more traction in 2020.

In-feed video outperforms pre-roll

In the digital space, marketers have basically replicated the concept of TV ads with the use of pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are short video ads that appear before the video you clicked on begins to play. Sometimes, you can click to skip the ad after a few seconds. In other instances, you just have to wait for the pre-roll ad to end.

Pre-roll ads are notorious in the digital marketing industry for their intrusive user experience. In a survey of marketers by AdWeek, over 55% said that pre-roll videos annoy viewers. It’s simple really; the pre-roll ad gets in the way of the video that the user wanted to watch.

One of the ways to combat this problem is by providing a content feed experience that engages users in a much less intrusive manner. Outbrain has achieved this with the rollout of two video-based Smartads: Click-To-Watch and Scroll-to-Watch.

These Native experiences allow advertisers to enjoy a full-funnel video offering. Let’s see what they are all about:

  • Click-to-Watch is a 100% opt-in and interactive video solution created to drive consideration and action without disruption.
  • Scroll-to-Watch starts playing in-view and sound-off, allowing advertisers to drive awareness and capture customer attention at competitive pricing in a brand-safe environment.

With solutions like these, advertisers can get more from video ads by having access to a true feed of discoveries on the Open Web that limits disruption and maximizes attention. If the video doesn’t capture the interest of the viewer, they just continue scrolling and move on. This keeps the consumer in full control of their time and minimizes the sense of intrusiveness that pre-roll video creates.

Not surprisingly, users prefer the in-feed video experience. For example, toothpaste brand Sensodyne by GSK was able to achieve a 62% average viewing time and 49% completion rate with its Click-To-Watch campaign for a 60-second video, promoted on the Outbrain platform. Another benefit of in-feed video is that the people who watch are actively choosing to do so, which means the video’s natural audience is much more qualified and engaged. This leads to higher attention levels, better brand recognition, and ultimately, higher conversions.

Here’s another case in point: a leading TV streaming service used Scroll-To-Watch video ads to boost awareness and engagement KPIs. Outbrain Scroll-To-Watch outperformed YouTube on both completion rates and dwell time.

Focused Calls to Action

There is plenty of data about how well video advertising is working on the branding side of marketing. When running a video campaign on Linear TV, and more broadly online, the ultimate goal is to drive awareness through reach and frequency. That’s exactly what Scroll-to-Watch helps advertisers to achieve online.

What might come as a surprise to some is how successful video advertising can be for the performance side of the business. How? By adding creative layers, especially CTAs.

The goal of every digital marketing strategy is to drive the user to take action and convert, and the same is true of video advertising. However, pre-roll video has not proven to be an effective way to call viewers to action. By their very nature, pre-roll ads are intrusive and annoying. They get in the way of users who are actually trying to do something else (ie. watch the video they clicked on). This is hardly the right moment to ask viewers to convert.

In 2020, video advertising will provide genuine opportunities for calls-to-action that get users to act on the spot. This will be achieved by creating compelling video stories and promoting them in non-intrusive ways so the viewer can opt-in and remain in control of their online viewing experience.

This year and beyond, video advertising will become more user-centric. Rather than “force-feeding” unwanted video to a captive audience, brands will be able to engage already-interested viewers with creative, relevant, non-disruptive video via “opt-in” platforms and targeted video content on personalized feeds. That’s the new future of video advertising in 2020.

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